Narratives of De-institutionalisation: Patient and Community Responses to Mental Hospital Closures in England

Rob Ellis, Robert Light

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter uses a previously untapped archive of oral histories, collected at a mental hospital in the north of England in the 1980s. Its aim is to broaden our understanding of life and work within it, and to consider the narratives that emerged at a time when it was earmarked for closure. The oral history archive documents the hopes and fears of patients as their hospital and, often, their home was slowly closed down around them. The chapter considers the questions being asked of the participants and explores the factors that shaped their development. It also contrasts them with the local community’s responses to the hospital’s
closure and the deinstitutionalisation of its patients. By engaging with the longer-term history of the hospital and its community relations, this chapter builds on recent research which has placed patient narratives at the heart of what was pivotal period in mental health care provision, with a view to providing a more representative picture of the impact it had on those affected.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNarrating the Heritage of Psychiatry
PublisherBrill Academic Publishers
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 6 Sep 2022

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